Walking towards Magazine Street, I marveled at the fact that I had just made contact with two incredibly sexy men whose own fantasies S.E.C.R.E.T. might unlock. And if they were amenable and discreet, they'd be trained by one of the Committee members. Then they'd be lined up with a lucky candidate, perhaps Dauphine. I glanced around the park, now packed and buzzing with fit joggers, cute dads and hot cyclists. Had these men always been here and I'd never noticed them before? Or were they noticing something in me for the first time?
Matilda's words rang in my mind: You're coming into your own. I see it.
Recently, I was able to read both S.E.C.R.E.T, and S.E.C.R.E.T. Shared, its sequel, and I think I might have a favorite new series. The series is in the erotica genre but is not just sex - the story itself is compelling, as well - and I was glad I had the sequel to start reading immediately after I finished the first one.
Synopsis for S.E.C.R.E.T:
Cassie Robichaud’s life is filled with regret and loneliness after the sudden death of her husband. She waits tables at the rundown Café Rose in New Orleans, and every night she heads home to her solitary one-bedroom apartment. But when she discovers a notebook left behind by a mysterious woman at the café, Cassie’s world is forever changed.
The notebook’s stunningly explicit confessions shock and fascinate Cassie, and eventually lead her to S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T, an underground society dedicated to helping women realize their wildest, most intimate sexual fantasies. Cassie soon immerses herself in an electrifying journey through a series of ten rapturous fantasies with gorgeous men who awaken and satisfy her like never before. As she is set free from her inhibitions, she discovers a new confidence that transforms her, giving her the courage to live passionately. Equal parts enticing, liberating and emotionally powerful, S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T is a world where fantasy becomes reality.
Synopsis for S.E.C.R.E.T. Shared:
(Warning: contains some spoilers if you haven't read the first book)
"I, Cassie Robichaud, solemnly swear to serve S.E.C.R.E.T. to the best of my abilities. I will do what is necessary, what is right and what is within my power to assist in the execution of sexual fantasies for our participant(s)..."
And so begins S.E.C.R.E.T. II, which opens with Cassie's initiation into this mysterious organization, one that helps women experience their most potent sexual fantasies. Cassie spends the next year as a "S.E.C.R.E.T. member-at-large," not quite a guide, she'll assist Committee members (including two new ones, Kit DeMarco and Angela Rejean) in recruiting men and helping to execute a new inductee's fantasies.
After a false start with the first potential inductee, Cassie makes the acquaintance of Dauphine Gray, a 31-year old who works at the Funky Monkey vintage clothing store on Magazine Street in New Orleans. Geeky, gawky and easily distracted, Dauphine has no idea how attractive she really is because her face is forever in a book. Reading is her passion, music is her pleasure, and Dauphine's all but given up on sex, especially after a painful rejection that still haunts her. Then Cassie and the women from S.E.C.R.E.T. show her it's possible to reignite that flame.
Meanwhile, Cassie must work through her resentment over losing Will to Tracina and their future baby. But when paternity questions surface, Tracina threatens to expose Cassie's S.E.C.R.E.T. membership to the one man both women love. Will Tracina expose Cassie to Will, and if she does, what will he make of his secret love's S.E.C.R.E.T. life?
This is a review of S.E.C.R.E.T. Shared, so you may want to just skip to the bottom if you are planning to read both - and I definitely recommend reading the first book before the second!
In the first novel, we meet Cassie Robichaud, who has been lonely for a first time. Her first husband was not a nice man, and they split up; soon after that, he died in a car accident. She's approached by a woman who tells her about S.E.C.R.E.T., a group that fulfills women's fantasies - specifically, women like Cassie, who have been unloved or lonely for quite a while. Cassie finds herself immersed in the group, but still harbors a crush on her boss, Will, who is dating Tracina, her coworker at the diner.
In S.E.C.R.E.T. Shared, Cassie and Will's relationship has turned tenuous, and Cassie decides to stay in the group to be a mentor to a new recruit, Dauphine, whom is much like how Cassie used to be with men. The book is told in the first person, same as S.E.C.R.E.T., but Cassie and Dauphine alternate chapters.
The first book was great, and I wanted to know more! The series is going to be three books, as well, so I still have a mini cliffhanger on my hands after finishing S.E.C.R.E.T. Shared. The story was very well told and it's easy to relate to Cassie and also Dauphine.
In case you're wondering, S.E.C.R.E.T. stands for how the fantasies should go - at the end of each fantasy, each woman gets a charm to add to her S.E.C.R.E.T. bracelet, and you will have nine charms total at the end:
Safe, in that the participant feels no danger.
Erotic, in that the fantasy is sexual in nature, not just imaginary.
Compelling, in that the participant truly wants to complete the fantasy.
Romantic, in that the participant feels wanted and desired.
Ecstatic, in that the participant experiences joy in the act.
Transformative, in that something int he participant changes in a fundamental way.
Fans of erotica novels or really any novels that tell a good story and are a little sexier than usual will enjoy these books. I would give both novels 4.5 out of 5 stars.
*Disclosure: I received copies of these novels for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.
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